Bill Gates, the billionaire philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft Corp., is once again the richest person in the world. And this time, it’s official.
Gates overtook Amazon Inc.’s Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest person on Friday, November 15, and he appears to have fully reclaimed the top spot for the first time in more than two years.
Gates had topped Bezos briefly on an intraday basis last month after Amazon posted its first profit drop in two years, but shares of the world’s biggest online retailer rallied to arrest the decline despite the abysmal Q3 2019 showing.
Gates may have been helped in part by the somewhat surprising decision of the Pentagon, which came to light on October 25, to award a USD 10 Bn cloud-computing contract to Microsoft over Amazon.
Since that announcement, Microsoft shares have been on the up, climbing 4 percent. Thus, upping Gates’ fortune to USD 110 Bn as per Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.
Amazon’s stock has plunged by about 2 percent since the announcement, putting Bezos’s net worth at USD 108.7 Bn.
Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index keeps tabs on the wealth of the world’s richest 500 people. The index is updated each trading day after U.S. markets close. Europe’s richest person, Bernard Arnault, is third with USD 102.7 Bn.
Microsoft has surged 48 percent this year, boosting the value of Gates’ remaining stake in Microsoft. The rest of his wealth is derived from share sales and investments made over the years by his family office, Cascade.
The first time Gates was named the richest person in the world was 1995 — when he had a net worth of USD 12.9 Bn.
Bezos had ended Gates’ 24-year run as the richest man in 2018 with a net worth of USD 160 Bn — though Gates has, at various times, been out-earned by the likes of Bezos, investor Warren Buffett and Mexican business magnate, Carlos Slim, since 2008.
Bezos would be far richer if he hadn’t divorced his ex-wife, MacKenzie Bezos. The former couple severed marital ties in January this year, with MacKenzie receiving a quarter of their Amazon holdings in July.
On the other hand, Gates may have never lost the top spot had he been a lot less generous. Through the to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates has given up to USD 35 Bn to charity since 1994.
Interestingly, Gates stopped working full-time at Microsft in 2008 and stepped down as chairman in 2014.
Over the course of nearly two decades, Gates has shifted his focus from personal computers to philanthropy. Yet despite easing his workload at Microsoft and his apparent obsession with giving away money, he is once again the world’s richest person.
Featured Image Courtesy: BusinessInsider